Congressman Sanford Bishop

Representing the 2nd District of Georgia


Mr. BISHOP of Georgia. Madam Speaker, it is my honor and pleasure to
extend my sincere congratulations to the congregation of Nelson Chapel
African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Bainbridge, Georgia as the
church's membership and leadership celebrate a remarkable 150 years.
The congregation will celebrate this very significant anniversary on
Sunday, May 19, 2019, at the church located at 640 Hall Street.
Tracing its roots back to the post-Civil War era, the church was
founded in 1869 when a group of slaves set off from their landowners'
church and boldly founded their own place of worship. The original
church was located on Academy Street and was operated under the
leadership of Rev. A. Monroe. During Rev. Monroe's tenure as pastor,
the church grew not only in size and in faith, but also in membership,
having included several founding members who were instrumental to the
development of the church.
Since its founding, Nelson Chapel AME Church has endured several
additions and renovations, all of which help tell the story of the
church. In 1902, the church relocated to its current location on Hall
Street to a property donated by the late Mr. Adam Nelson. The
foundation of the church was laid under the esteemed leadership of the
late Rev. N.L. Holmes and the building was constructed during the
pastorship of the late Rev. George Smith. In the 1970s, under the
tutelage of Rev. C. E. Shepherd, the congregation was motivated to
construct a child development center to educate preschoolers about
Christian principles and academic excellence. The center, which
consisted of a fellowship hall, full kitchen, and a baptismal pool, was
named for the late Dr. J.H. Griffin, M.D. and was managed for many
years as the Dr. J.H. Griffin Educational Complex. In addition to the
construction of the church and child development center, a parsonage
was built at 818 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard for the comfort and
living of the pastoral family.
This ardent community of believers has extended its circle to include
more and more members as the years have gone by, though it has never
lost its essential character. Today, the spirit and faith of its people
are manifested through the current sanctuary, which includes an organ,
carpeting, pulpit furniture, a modern sound system, the Carillon Tower
Chimes, a paved parking lot, office space, and many other structural
improvements. That same faith and spirit extend beyond the church
doors, in the presence of members who give fully of themselves wherever
they go.
Throughout the years, a number of pastors, deacons, and clerks have
contributed to its legacy, which boasts more than 300 members, eight
choirs, a 70-member Young People's Division (YPD), and many ministries
to support the surrounding community and congregation. Because of their
dedicated efforts, Nelson Chapel AME Church is the lead church in the
Thomasville/Bainbridge District of the South Georgia Annual Conference,
Sixth Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
The story of Nelson Chapel AME Church, which recounts a long history
of a group of believers coming together through the good and difficult
times to praise and worship the Lord, is truly an inspiring one of the
dedication and perseverance of a faithful congregation of people who
put all their love and trust in God.
Madam Speaker, I ask my colleagues to join my wife, Vivian, and me,
along with the 730,000 residents of Georgia's Second Congressional
District, in paying tribute to Nelson Chapel AME Church in Bainbridge,
Georgia for its congregation's enduring commitment to each other and to
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. May their actions continue to inspire
the community in courage, in dedication, and in faith.
116th Congress